OS/2 Networking Installation Tips and Traps

By: Walter Metcalf
Date: 12/22/99

Since writing the previous article, I ran into a challenging series of problems in trying to set up my LAN again. In fact I can only recall one or two other instances in my career where I had a more serious series of problems.

These problems were different in that they did not involve loss of data. Since I'm a bit of a fanatic about backing up, my data was actually quite safe. However, there were several times where I almost despaired of ever having my main system (hardware and OS/2) working again!

As I was struggling with some of those problems, I realized that many of you may have encountered at least some of these problems while installing your network, I decided it would be appropriate to take a bit of a break and list a few of the problems I encountered, how I finally solved them, and in some cases what you can do to avoid them. Being forewarned may also save you some grief later on.


As happens in many cases, my problems began because I was doing a number of things to my computer all within a short period of time, along with a certain amount of inexperience about the possible consequences of each. Here's what had transpired prior to "D-day":

  1. Set up a working LAN using 1 Lan card

  2. "The Cable Guy" came to install Internet on Cable (aka cable modem).

    1. Since my cable company won't install on LAN's, I had to take down my new network.

  3. I tried to set up LAN using 2 LAN card's (original + the one connected to cable modem).

    1. This means two domains instead of one.

  4. Upgraded the processor.

    1. I can't be sure when, but somewhere, and it could have been during the processor upgrade, the motherboard BIOS decided for no particular reason to reprogram the IRQ and address locations of all the Plug 'n' Play expansion boards in my computer.
If each of these changes to the system had been made one at a time, with enough time between them to evaluate the behaviour of each on the system, and prepare for the next, some or all of the trauma could have been avoided. Unfortunately, the only thing I had much control over was the timing of the processor upgrade, and at that point there was no reason to suspect any problems. (The processor itself gave OS/2 absolutely no trouble: it just ran much, much faster!) Nevertheless, spacing out changes or additions to your systems is always a good rule.

What Happened

  1. Network Adapter and Protocol Services (NAPS) Failed.

    1. Specifically this occurred immediately after the first reboot of the installation and was the first clue something was wrong. Fortunately the fix is fairly straightforward, if a little tedious.

      1. ANALYSIS

        1. Garbage, usually in the form of software on the hard drive, whose versions are incompatible with what you are trying to install.

        2. One of the Peer Services fixpaks is dated July 1999, and when you recall that the Warp CD was manufactured in 1996, it's easy to see how installing Networking from the CD could result in trying to install a file over a newer version of itself, leading to problems.1

      2. SOLUTION

        1. Reinstall OS/2 from scratch. (Of course you must back up at least your system partition, and then reformat it first.)

  2. Lock-up on network card driver.

    1. In other words, your computer hangs while processing the NIC driver during boot-up. This was a a tough problem to solve, because there are a number of possible causes.

      1. ANALYSIS

        1. Possible Causes

          • IRQ (or other resource) Conflict

            This is the most common cause. In fact it was ONE cause in my case.

          • Bad (LAN) card

          • NetBios protocol conflict

            I'm not sure about the precise nature of the conflict (and I don't want to risk taking taking down my system again by further experimenting!) It seems to be due to the presence of multiple NetBios protocol specifications, OR, a version conflict between the driver version and the installed version of OS/2 Networking and Peer Services.

      2. SOLUTIONS

        1. IRQ Conflict

          • Either use jumpers (or DIP switches) on the expansion cards or the computer's BIOS to resolve the conflict by making sure that each device in the system has a different IRQ. Software programs that can help in identifying resources used by devices include ScanPCI and RMView, which is included in OS/2 as a utility command. (RMView command line parameters /IRQ and /DA are especially useful.) ScanPCI is freeware. (See below for additional information on setting the BIOS.)

        2. Bad Card

          • The only sure test is to replace it with an identical card that's known to be good. If new card works, discard the old card.

        3. NetBios protocol conflict

          • The trick here is to install as little as possible at first, and then upgrade. Here's what worked for me. Your mileage may vary.

            • Make sure there are no IRQ or other resource conflicts and that your hardware is working properly.

            • Install all the cards you will need in your final system into your computer. (You might as well install and configure OS/2 for the hardware it will eventually have to run.)

            • Install and configure OS/2 up to the Networking Page. (See Figure 1.)

                Figure 1. (Click to expand.)

            • Using Advanced Install, select Networking and Protocol Services. For each Lan card in your computer add an adapter. For each adapter add the TCP/IP protocol. For the first adapter only add the NETBIOS protocol as well.

              Select TCP/IP services, and accept all the defaults. (You will come back later and configure the TCP/IP).

              Select User ID and Password and enter valid values.

            • As far as I have been able to determine, that is the minimum you can configure for Peer Services (aka File and Print Client) for the install to succeed. (Note: it should be possible to use a different protocol from NETBIOS: I just have not tried it.)

          Next page Computer Reprograms Cards

    Walter Metcalf

    Next week: Setting Up a LAN on Warp 4, Part 3


    1 The MPTS install program actually generates a warning message in that instance. The main network install program is apparently less forgiving.

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